MCBC Notches Second Victory for Miller Mill Valley Council Gives Nod to One-Lane Pilot on Miller ‘Parkway’
When Miller Avenue is repaved and striped by early August, it will bear significant traffic calming improvements highlighted by continuous buffered bicycle lanes connecting downtown and Camino Alto.
In response to a joint advocacy effort from community members and MCBC, the Mill Valley City Council voted on Tuesday to move forward with a one-lane pilot configuration on both sides of Miller Avenue in the ‘Parkway’ section, between Millwood and Willow Streets.
Plans would have placed people bicycling just feet away from two lanes of high-speed traffic. The pilot configuration, shown above, will help reduce vehicle speeds and provide a two-foot buffer between the bike and travel lanes.
Speaking at the meeting, MCBC’s Policy & Planning Director, Bjorn Griepenburg, urged the Council to prioritize safety.
“Projects of this scale don’t come around often. It will be years before Miller Avenue is repaved, restriped, or reimagined,” said Griepenburg. “We know you want to get this right. Please implement the one-lane option, or at least give it the additional evaluation it deserves.”
Earlier in the day, MCBC delivered a petition with nearly 200 signatures urging the Council to reconsider its plans to restore the street’s two-lane configuration later this month.
The push for a one-lane design gained momentum over the past few months, after the City temporarily reconfigured the section to accommodate curbside parking during construction of the Miller Avenue Streetscape Project. People who live and work along the Parkway noted a reduction in vehicle speeds and more pleasant walking and biking conditions and asked that the street remain at one lane after construction.
Opponents cited concerns about traffic impacts, emergency egress, and altering the plan. Even though each of these concerns was addressed and debunked at the meeting, the decision came down to a single vote, with Councilmembers Jim Wickham and John McCauley voting against the pilot.
Mayor Jessica Sloan, Vice Mayor Stephanie Moulton-Peters, and Councilmember Sashi McEntee all cited safety for people walking and bicycling as key in their decisions to test the one-lane configuration, rather than implementing the long-planned two-lane setup.
Moulton-Peters stressed the importance of delivering the best possible project for all roadway users by at least evaluating the one-lane configuration.
“There is a lot of speculation about what is going to happen, and that is what makes a pilot test such a good idea. We can actually find out once and for all,” Moulton-Peters said. “You plan for flexibility, and I think that is what we are trying to do here.”
The decision marks MCBC’s second successful campaign on Miller Avenue in 2017, with the first coming in early April at Miller Avenue and Almonte Boulevard.